Tune into the Scrimmage #WednesdayWebinar series focused around remote teams, virtual tools and helpful information to set your remote workforce up for success.

  • 2:48 – Why communication is key in uncertain times
  • 3:57 – Setting the tone for a remote team
  • 6:12 – The importance of creating & documenting processes
  • 6:49 – The tools to get the job done
  • 11:17 – Creating a process + setting the expectation
  • 11:58 – Understanding the boundaries in a remote world
  • 14:39 – Collaborating tips with Trello
  • 18:18 – Aligning tasks with Clubhouse
  • 21:18 – How to get creative with engagement ideas
  • 23:49 – Fun games to share with your remote teams

Tools Mentioned:

https://zoom.us

https://slack.com

https://trello.com/en-US

https://clubhouse.io

Games:

https://www.playfactile.com

Scrimmage Website:

https://www.wescrimmage.com

Full Episode Transcription:

Nate: (00:01)
Okay. It looks like we have quite a few people here who are joining. So if you do feel like jumping in with your thoughts and comments, by all means, please use the chat feature within zoom and share your thoughts or questions. And I will try and look at those as I’m going through the presentation today. One second here.

Nate: (00:28)
I’ll pull the chat up. Okay. Can you guys see my screen ok or is Zoom blocking it there? I’ll go ahead and get started and again, I apologize.

Nate: (00:48)
Sometimes you get unexpected things and right now they’re testing the tornado sirens in Minneapolis. So that’s what you’re hearing in the background. I hope I’m coming through. Okay. yeah, so as I mentioned just a minute ago Scrimmage, just been on this Wednesday webinars, this is a three series three Wednesdays in a row about just working remote. And today I just wanted to share a couple of things that Scrimmage is doing and we’ve been remote for since we started. For the most part, we used to be in an office and people work from home. Now we’re fully remote, so I just wanted to share some tools that we use and some processes that we have in place and if it helps your teams, as many teams are now remote and want to expect them to be. So just wanted to share some tips and tricks. I don’t think it’s going to be anything groundbreaking, but if it helps you out please feel free to email me or ask any questions after the webinar and happy to share any additional thoughts.

Nate: (01:45)
So my name is Nate Kahl. I’ve been with scrimmage for seven years. I’m the VP of client experience. I’ve been in a variety of roles from implementation, working with our product and aligning a roadmap to feature requests and whatnot. And I help out on the sales side of things and in each of the different roles that I’ve had within Scrimmage. I’ve used different tools to make sure that I’m communicating with the team and that everyone’s on the same page. And i’m going to share a couple of those things with you today. It’s, it’s pretty basic. I wanted to share just some basic things that I keep in the back of my head as I’m focusing on, you know working remotely and making sure that everyone feels connected to me. Share some of the tools that we use from a project management standpoint, from a communication standpoint, and then just share some ideas that our team has implemented and some ideas that I’ve learned from other colleagues of mine and how they engage and drive fun things with their teams. So that’s kind of the agenda for today. Like I said, if you have questions or thoughts or want to jump in, please by all means, feel free to speak up, type it in the chat. I’d like this to be as interactive as possible.

Nate: (02:57)
So the first thing is the basic, so setting the tone with a remote team, especially if a team’s new, really focusing on setting up routines and say things in place that feel like you’re in an office. So daily routines that Scrimmage does. Our dev team has, you know, a daily stand up where they, you know, hop on a camera or audio chat and just share what their goals are for the day, what they accomplished. Our implementation teams for the most part have a daily stand up where they’re communicating and just making sure that everyone’s on the same page with what the goals are for the overall team. The thing that I can’t stress enough working remotely is just the increased transparency and communication that’s really important when you’re working with a remote team. So one of the nice things about being remote or working from home is there’s a lot more flexibility if things comes up.

Nate: (03:48)
If things come up, if there are appointments that you have to make childcare, especially right now schools, we being out so just communicating with your team and saying, Hey, I’m going to be out for this hour or I’m, you know, I’m not going to be available online today. Make sure you text me if you did anything. It’s super, super important. Just because everyone’s, when you go from being in an office to a remote space, everyone’s kinda like, well, I feel so isolated. So the more you can increase transparency, transparency, and communication, the better off your team’s going to feel and you’re going to make progress towards your goals faster. On our webinar last week Kassie Laborie was on and she mentioned that the concept of having the mindset of an in-person team, and that really resonated with me because I think it’s really important.

Nate: (04:33)
People always say, well, we’re virtual now or if you were in a live setting we wouldn’t do that, but you know, getting that kind of verbiage out of your saying, those kinds of things is really important. And having the mindset of an in person team and being creative on you know, we used to do this and that, you know, well, there’s going to be a way that you can figure out on how to do that in a virtual setting. So just get creative a Google, you know, how to, how to host a happy hour. You know, you’d see all those on Facebook and Instagram and States, how did you help and stuff. The more you inform yourself and have that mindset of anything we could’ve done in an office and an in person team we could be creative with a virtual option. And then another thing I’ll just reinforce is creating and documenting the processes.

Nate: (05:18)
You know, working remote a lot of times, or you know, when you’re in an office you can, you can just turn to the person next to you and say, how do we do this? Or what’s the process for that? Where do we store that? Or who should I communicate this to that isn’t super, you know, a lot of people don’t think like, Oh, I can just chat that to them now. So having everything documented in terms of your processes is really important, especially for remote teams because they can access it and of course they can reach out to their team members, but the more it’s documented, the more secure and safe the team’s going to feel. So next slide here is the tools to get the job done. Obviously we’re on zoom right now. A couple features that I absolutely love about zoom are the ability to have breakout rooms.

Nate: (06:01)
And this is great for larger team meetings if you want to have a kind of a brainstorming session. So within zoom you can create breakouts and then you know, as a facilitator you can see the different breakouts but they can get in smaller groups and maybe whiteboard ideas, just kind of brainstorm different problems that you’re having, whatever you want to do in those breakouts and then come together as a larger group and share maybe what each group came up with. It’s a lot more productive way to move through the process of idea generation faster. Slack is another tool that we use very frequently, all the time within Scrimmage. And we have it set up where we have different channels. So we have our, the way our implementation team is set up is we have a channel where pod A and for pod B. So throughout the day, we’re constantly communicating, you know, what’s going on, if there’s any questions.

Nate: (06:52)
And it’s not like you’re getting an alert every time because with Slack you can turn off the alerts for specific channels. So I don’t even know everything that’s going on with the, within each pod each day. But I can go through and I can scroll through and read what happened and if there’s any questions and if someone tags me directly i get the notification. The other feature that I really, really like about Slack is the ability to send notifications to your mobile device. So another thing, another channel that we have set up is for support. And we have a process in place where if there’s something critically important for a client we use our support channel, which then will go to our dev team. It goes to me, it goes to operations. It goes to pretty much everyone who needs to know it. I get those alerts right on my phone.

Nate: (07:35)
So even if we’re outside of hours those kind of working remote that will notify you on your phone are really, really helpful. There’s other tools that you can use. Like I know Microsoft teams has a lot of collaboration tools. Google docs is something that we use really, really frequently at Scrimmage to collaborate. Just creating an Excel spreadsheet or a Google document, excuse me, over a word document and you can all modify it at the same time. It’s a lot like white boarding. You know, if you are in an office, there’s so many tools out there that allow you to connect and all work on the same thing at the same time. One other feature that I wanted to talk about if you use Gmail is Google voice. It’s, it’s a service that Google offers. And I think it’s really cool.

Nate: (08:25)
You can essentially pick up your own Google voice number and you can create rules for that number. So for example if someone uses your Google voice number to call you between the hours of eight and five, you can, you know, you can respond as if it’s after hours. You can put up an away message. If they text it, you can have automatic messaging. If someone calls, it can go to a series of phone numbers. So if you have a person that is managing a service desk, for example, you can create a Google voice number that will route to different people depending on their out of office and things like that. So that’s a tool which is really helpful. It’s just been trying to get ahold of people. But it allows you to create rules and processes within your organization to best utilize google voice. Do you guys have any features now that I’m talking, if you want to write them or mention them? I’d love to hear your thoughts on Slack, Google voice, zoom, any other tools that you use? Anything stand out?

Audience: (09:29)
I really love using Trello for organizing my day around tasks.

Nate: (09:36)
Is that just an individual use case or do you use that with your team?

Audience: (09:42)
So I’ve used, we use it with our team for communication and kind of like a whiteboard and where we can have different tasks and push them into different areas. But I also have my own personal board that’s kind of like my to do list in levels of importance and things like that. 

Nate: (10:01)
Sure!

Audience: (10:01)
What is that called? Trello. 

Audience: (10:04)
Yes. T. R. E. L. L. O.

Nate: (10:07)
I’ll type it on the chat here and in a minute here. Thanks. thanks for that. In a minute here we use Trello internally at Scrimmage as well. Our director of product development, Amanda is going to explain a little bit about how we prioritize tasks and things like that with, with a couple of other tools as well. Thank you. Any other suggestions on products that people are using for work in project management? Communication?

Nate: (10:40)
Okay, cool.

Nate: (10:42)
The next thing I wanted to talk about here is create a process and setting the expectation. So one thing, at Scrimmage every Friday at, I think it’s 9:30 central. We have a team call and on that call everyone’s on one of the expectations. That’s set is that your camera’s on. People that aren’t always comfortable humor on or you know, let this go on. Listen. if you set expectations around processes of the camera and the participation within the meeting and whatnot it can, it can go a long way within your team. And they know what the expectations are. Same thing goes for working schedules with remote hours. So for example, like myself, I usually am later to get on and I work later. I work evenings and during the weekends. Everyone’s schedule is not the standard nine to five. Like it used to be with with remote teams.

Nate: (11:41)
Understanding the flexibility and just communicating what your schedule is going to be and, and asking people what this their schedule is and understanding the boundaries of, you know, not messaging them during their, you know, when they’ve got something else going on or not having the expectation that they’re going to respond right away is really, really important with remote teams. Not everyone’s going to be on from nine to five Monday through Friday. That’s just not how it works, especially when you’re working from home, especially right now when kids are home and whatnot. So just being really communicating really about what your working schedule is and when you’re available and when you’re not, the super important. Participation, leveraging the features to keep it interesting. So like I mentioned with zoom, you can do breakout rooms, you can do whiteboards, you can do live polling, where people can respond, you know, to a, to a question by checking the green or the red X, all sorts of things.

Nate: (12:41)
So just keeping it interesting and using some of the new features that are constantly being rolled out is, is really important to making sure that your team is engaged and they’re learning about the new features. I mean, every single day, every single day, but all the time, like with Slack or zoom, I just Google like, how do you do this? How do you do that with zoom, whatever. It’s amazing how much information there is out there and how many features with these awesome tools that we have, we’re not using. So just taking the mindset of, you know, I bet we could do that being remote or WebEx or we connect whatever you, whatever tools you have at your organization it just needs some research and learning more is super important. So with that, Amanda are you on the call?

Amanda: (13:35)
I am here.

Nate: (13:36)
Wonderful. so Amanda is our director of product development and she works with a team of developers as well as our services team to develop our roadmap to implement new features, documentation, you name it. She’s got a lot going on. Amanda, would you mind introducing yourself and your role a little bit more and dig into a little bit of what processes are like.

Amanda: (14:04)
Yeah, absolutely. So like Nate said I’m the director of product development. I have worked with Scrimmage in different roles or to some capacity for the past six and a half years. And, and in a remote setting. So 

Amanda: (14:26)
Like Nate mentioned I do work with both the heavily with the implementation team as well as the development team. So for managing two different processes or different teams, functional teams it is, we have some really great tools to make sure that each team has the appropriate information and tools to work within those respective roles. So oh, you did stop sharing their Nate. So a couple of the tools that we use as Nate mentioned are Trello and clubhouse. So a lot of times things start in Trello. So Trello is where our services team works. And they have account boards they have and then they have boards like this that will basically alert the development team. Some things that I really like about Trello, so again, it’s just however you wanna set up your process.

Amanda: (15:53)
But what’s really great about it and working with remote teams is that they have this ability to set up templates. So for tasks that they do over and over they can copy these templates so that we can make sure that all of the information that we need is gathered the first time. It’s also great because we have the ability to assign members. So if there’s a bug report, for example, we’re able to every time this template is used, there’s the same people assigned to it over over and over. And then we get those alerts right away. And then it’s also a great, because you can communicate and like using the at symbol and pulling users into conversations about those specific templates. And then this style also is very helpful in teams that are collaborating because you can see visually where your items are in the to do list in which order.

Amanda: (17:03)
So this is a really great tool. There’s also a lot of automation you can set up with Trello that then allows you to assign, automatically assign different people or move cards. So for example, we have this ready for, we have ready for QA and if things sit there for more than two weeks they’ll automatically be moved to done. So you can set up some automation workflow that way as well. And then from Trello, so from that board and then we also have like a feature request board. We get into like our development workflow.

Amanda: (17:56)
So anything that needs to go to development, we have these types of projects. So we have a product backlog. Everything goes into the product backlog and then they get divvied out into like weekly sprints. So our development team, like I said, works in weekly sprints and clubhouse aligns with that really well because then we can focus everybody on just the tasks broken out for that week. And then we put them into what’s called the iterations. So basically we just have one big backlog. And then as those get broken out we pull them into iterations for the week to get worked on. Though again, it’s very focused. This is a really great tool for remote development teams because it pulls in other tools such as like get hub that developers use. And again it is very user-friendly in terms of you can assign people so you know who’s working on what and not stepping on anybody’s toes. You can assign what you’re actual goals for the weak are. And then again, it just keeps an entire team very focused in the one week iterations. And then every Monday we go ahead and demo all of our

Amanda: (19:27)
Work that is done and it goes back into Trello for the company. So we record our demos of all of the work that has been done. And then those eventually turn into release notes. So that’s kind of the full cycle of how we use Trello and clubhouse. And again, both of those tools are very collaborative and they also integrate really well with other tools such as get hub, we have Slack and and then the automation tools that are built in 

Amanda: (20:12)
So that is all I’ve got. Does anybody have any questions about those tools at all?

Nate: (20:23)
I know from working with the, we’ve, we’ve tried several tools in the past. But I think this process right now is working really well for us. One thing that really I liked as you can see the status of if you put a ticket, to have help or to do something for you. I, it’s clear with email communication, with Slack notifications, whatever, it’s all integrated so you can clearly see where things are at. And then we can bug you if we need it done faster. No, thank you very much Amanda. I appreciate it.

Amanda: (20:51)
No problem.

Nate: (20:53)
Last topic I want to just talk about here was just some ideas to incorporate some fun things into your remote teams. So i’ll pull that slide up here.

Nate: (21:08)
A couple of things. I already talked about getting creative with the tools I’m hosting this past, I think it was last Friday, we had a team happy hour you can see about about that in lower right side of your screen. Everyone described their favorite beer, wine cocktail and we just chatted not about work and it was super fun just to build those connections. I think one of the things that I struggle with the most in working remote is I’m a very, I like to joke around with people. I like to have that personal connection, that personal interactions. So finding creative ways to do that, whether it’s virtual, happy hour or just making sure that I FaceTime with somebody, whatever it is, is really important to me because I think teams rely so much on each other and a lot of times it comes down to those relationships that you have with them and the trust that you build with them.

Nate: (21:53)
However you choose to do that. Kassie, the person who was on our webinar last week mentioned a great idea like a baby shower or a gift exchange. Even what she’s promoting is, or what she’s done with other remote teams is instead of, you know, at Christmas doing a gift exchange you buy a small gift thinking about somebody as they were child. So as an example, if I can, if I know Danielle really well, I know what she might’ve wanted as a child and I buy that and then I donate that to a local charity and take a picture. I’m saying this is, you know, this is for Danielle as a child. Just unique ways to continue those traditions of gift exchanges and building that personal connection again in a unique way. Right now at Scrimmage. We’re also doing a photo contest where for the next two weeks we’re taking creative photos and uploading them.

Nate: (22:45)
And the person who has the most creative photo that day gets a $15 Amazon gift card, you know, and at the end of that week we’ll vote on the best picture and they get a hundred dollar gift card. Yesterday’s theme was working from home with your best Scrimmage gear and we got some really, really creative pictures, which is fun. Today’s theme is April fools. So I have some ideas that I’m pretty excited to take a couple pictures here after the seminar, even eat lunch together. So turn on FaceTime turn on zoom and have lunch and just chat like those small things that you used to do or you know, don’t do as frequently now that you’re working remote are really important and you can figure out ways to do it.

Nate: (23:26)
In the last five minutes, I just wanted to highlight a couple of games that are, that are great for remote teams or actually just in your personal life to a one that me and my friends use frequently. Is Jackbox. And you can play from, you don’t have to download the software. You know, to play, to host the game. I think you have to pay a little to try the game, but it’s really inexpensive, but it allows you to play really fun games that you can do remote. I know Amanda, you played Fibbage in the past, which is kinda like you make up definitions about words and then everyone votes on which definition I think is the correct one. If I remember right, there’s a really fun one called Quiplash. There’s a murder mystery party on Jackbox. So if you get the chance and you’re looking for a fun, quick way to engage your team, they’re not long games.

Nate: (24:14)
Check out Jackbox. Factile is really cool. It’s a way for you to do virtual jeopardy. So that’s the picture in the upper right corner there. You can create your own virtual jeopardy. So just another fun way to engage your team about whatever that whatever you have going on there and you can work prizes, whatever you want to do. House party is all the craze right now. It’s an app where you, it’s kind of like FaceTime, but you can also play games with each other. So if you, you know, it’s a, it’s a free app and it’s based off of, you know, you’re hosting a house party, so you get notifications when your friends are in the house or your colleagues are in the house and then you can start games, just chat, whatever you want to do. It’s pretty cool. And then also we’ve played heads up virtually.

Nate: (24:57)
So that’s that game from, I think Ellen Degeneres had it where you have your iPhone and your, it’s kind of like a, you have to guess the word that’s on that, on the phone right in front of you. Again, it’s, it’s just another way to connect with people, build those connections and make your remote teams more fun. So with that I just want to say thank you so much for joining today. We’re going to have another Wednesday webinar next week with a with a special guest. So I’m excited about that. If you have any questions on the content that I covered today any of the applications, what Amanda’s process is of managing our entire dev process, please feel free to email me. It’s in the invite here. Again, thank you so much and I hope you all stay safe and enjoy the rest of your Wednesday. Thanks guys.

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